Spiritual Directors

SISTER MONIKA ELLIS, OSBSister Monika Ellis, OSB

The deep listening that takes place during spiritual direction is the root of wisdom. And it is wisdom that deepens our experience of life and unravels its meaning. I stand in awe of the power of listening and I am humbly honored when someone comes to sit with me in what we call spiritual direction.

More than ten years ago the Community called me to be the new membership director. In that capacity I have listened to many women who were discerning their vocation to monastic life. I am a gifted discerner, intuitive listener and committed companion.

My wide and various interests include art of all kinds but most especially the fiber arts; music; poetry, particularly hymn texts; and birds. On a given day you might find me outside on our Sacred Path of Enchantment watching birds, up in our art studio practicing the recorder, or in my office with various community tasks. Benedictine spirituality is sort of a household spirituality. What needs to be done we do, finding meaning in the relationships of community, the Liturgy of the Hours, and in the work at hand. God is good and present everywhere. In this I rejoice. If you’d like to talk to me about spiritual direction, please contact me via email: mellis@stplacid.org

SISTER MARY GILES MAILHOT, OSBimage of Sister Mary Giles Mailhot, OSB

I have been a member of the Benedictine community at St. Placid Priory since 1966. Before receiving my certificate as a spiritual director in April of 1996, I gained experience being with people of all ages and of many cultures as a teacher (pre-school through adult education), in parish ministry, and as a volunteer hospital and prison chaplain. I come from a multi-cultural, multi-faith family and have worked at the college level with students from other countries. I helped organize the Thurston County Interfaith Alliance and served on its executive board for the first two years. I have a Master’s in Religious Studies, am a life-long student of Sacred Scripture, and have a great interest in women’s studies and spirituality. The world of nature is also a scripture for me, revealing in wondrous ways the Source and Sustainer of all that exists. Throughout the years I have been a listener, pray-er and companion to people in their sorrows, joys and struggles. It is my greatest hope for directees that they find prayerful support as they discover the truth and grace of their own lives. You may call me at 360-438-1771.

SISTER LAURA SWAN, OSB

I experience life as an integrated whole. Like a lovely Impressionist painting, a close examination of pieces and aspects may appear unrelated and disjointed, but standing back and gazing upon the canvas of life as a whole provides us with another perspective. I encourage seekers to live in a contemplative stance toward life, listening for the whispers and leading of the Holy Spirit, Breath of God. Life is a dance, and the Holy One yearns to lead; yet a leading that entices us to become ever more the person we were created to be. Learning to listen, truly and deeply listen, with Benedict’s ear of the heart, is important. Often a personal crisis, an important life decision that needs to be made, addiction issues (and wondering ‘where is God’ in the midst of this very real struggle), and midlife issues initially bring people into my life as a spiritual director. I am comfortable sitting together with people who struggle with their place and call within institutional Church.

I have a background in the Charismatic Renewal, ecumenism, as a Benedictine Associate and Oblate. I made monastic profession in 1993, when I also began my retreat and spiritual direction ministry. I am a writer and published author, with a particular interest in Benedictine and women’s spirituality. I have a Masters in Christian Ministry and Renewal, a Masters in Theological Studies, and a Post Master Certificate in Spiritual Direction. You may contact me via email at LSWAN@stplacid.org or call me at 360-438-2595.

SISTER LUCY WYNKOOP, OSB

My direction with others flows from my Benedictine tradition, which emphasizes listening with the ear of the heart and seeking God in every facet of ordinary life. I have accompanied people of many ecumenical and faith traditions and diverse backgrounds. My background in formative work enables me to be attentive to tending others in their formative process. Integrating my own spiritulal and psychological work has made me especially aware of the deep interconnectedness of spirit and psyche. I am sensitive to integrative work in others. I am able to be present with those who have experienced abuse. My prayer style is contemplative. I am gifted at helping others find their own prayer style. Asking evocative questions is important to me. I have accompanied many pastors, especially new pastors. My two Master’s Degrees are in Theology with concentrations in Scripture and Monastic Studies. My preparation for spiritual direction and supervision was through Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. You may contact me via email at LWYNKOOP@stplacid.org or call me at 360-438-2595.

 

SISTER JULIAN CLEARY, OSB

Life is about loving. Isn’t it? How do you love God? Love another? Do you want to look at that more carefully?

Spiritual Direction is about sharing the heart and soul’s desire to love. Along the way to love in our lives, we encounter difficult relationships with family and friends, with institutions and organizations and workplaces, even with our own self. Life can get complex, confusing, discouraging, and stressful.

I am a new Spiritual Director (I graduated from the Listening with the Spirit Spiritual Direction Certificate Program at St Placid Priory Spirituality Center in May of 2021). And I bring some ‘old’ gifts with me to Direction – gifts I have developed through my professional life. As a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, I began to learn about the human body and suffering and compassion. As an attorney I learned about listening carefully and deeply and about asking questions if needed. In the monastic life (which journey I began in 1994 and just made perpetual profession in September of 2020), I am learning about prayer and contemplation, and learning again about having a loving relationship with God and others.

If you are reading this, know that not only is your heart and soul seeking God (Love), but that God is pursuing you – a most unbelievable and astonishing gift waiting for you!

If you would like to connect about this pursuit by God, this journey of love, this sacred process of sharing your heart and soul called Spiritual Direction, you may reach me by email at jcleary@stplacid.org or via telephone at (360) 438-2595. Meanwhile, know and trust that God loves you so very much.